One of Alberto Ginastera’s amazing compositions is the Danzas Argentias Opus 2, which was written in 1937. This work consists of three dance based pieces for the forte piano: Danza del Viejo Boyero (Dance of the Old Herdsman), Danza de la Moza Donosa (Dance of the Beautiful Maiden), and Danza del Gaucho (Dance of the Arrogant Cowboy). Theses dances were inspired by the gaucho tradition taking the listener back to the Argentine traditions.
Beginning the study of music at a young age, Ginastera entered the Williams Conservatory at age twelve, throughout his life achieving many awards and successes one of which are these dances. Ginastera uses advanced composing techniques throughout Danzas Argentias, adding contrast in the rhythm as well as contrast well throughout the melody, between tension, deep feeling and relaxation. Never does Ginastera fully give up Argentine traditions, such as the Gauchesco tradition. A lot of Ginastera's works were inspired by the Gauchesco symbol of Argentina, a tradition that Gaucho or landless native horseman of the plains, is a symbol of Argentina. Ginastera wrote many piano works besides other genres but the three Argentine Dances constitute perhaps the most popular work in a piano literature of Argentine music written in Ginastera’s early more nationalistic period.
The first dance, Dance of the Old Herdsman, from the first impression has a very odd sound to it. This dance is composed of two modes, the main one being E phrygian. The left hand of the performer plays only black keys, while the right plays only white keys. Although the cacophony seems unavoidable in such a work Ginastera manages to include a beautiful but simple melody and interesting rhythm and texture with many accented notes that also help bring out the interesting melody and rhythm. This first dance is based on the rhythm of the ‘malambo,’3 a gaucho dance for solo male that allows him to show off his tap-dancing talents. A malambo dancer is a...